Japan, South Korea, and China are the three largest importers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world, accounting for more than half of global LNG imports in 2015. Combined LNG imports in these countries averaged 18.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2015, a 5% (0.9 Bcf/d) decline from 2014 levels and the first annual decline in these countries' combined LNG imports since the global economic downturn in 2009.
Declines in LNG imports in these countries were partially offset by increasing LNG imports elsewhere in Asia. Imports in India and Taiwan, the fourth- and fifth-largest LNG importers, respectively, increased slightly in 2015. However, most of the increase in LNG imports came from emerging Asian LNG markets, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Pakistan. Although LNG demand growth prospects are limited in the more mature markets of Japan and South Korea, LNG demand in China, India, Taiwan, and emerging Asian markets is expected to grow in the future.
In Japan, South Korea, and China, reduced demand for natural gas in the power sector, driven by slower economic growth and lower-priced competing fuels, resulted in reduced LNG consumption in 2015. Cooler-than-usual temperatures as a result of effects from El Niño also contributed to lower electricity consumption andreduced LNG imports in those countries.
Potential for LNG demand growth in both Japan and South Korea may be limited. Japan's total electricity consumption has fallen for five consecutive years, and nuclear generation is gradually returning to service, likely reducing natural gas use for electricity generation. In South Korea, government policies that favor the use of coal and nuclear over natural gas for electricity generation led to a greater use of coal-fired and nuclear power plants.
In China, the lower prices of competing fuels and the slowdown in the growth of the Chinese economy drove the 2015 decline in LNG imports. Natural gas use in China may increase for several reasons: the implementation of environmental policies promoting use of natural gas in the power, industrial, and transportation sectors; the availability of imported global LNG supply at relatively low prices; and growing capacity of LNG regasification.
Emerging Asian LNG import markets, including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Pakistan, currently account for a small share of total Asian LNG imports, but they may have the potential to increase their LNG imports soon. LNG import growth in these countries is driven primarily by the increased use of natural gas for power generation.
- In Thailand, the combined effects of declining domestic natural gas production near consuming centers and strong growth in natural gas demand are driving LNG import growth. Although LNG imports provide a relatively small share of natural gas supply in Thailand, the country's LNG imports are projected to increase because of limited growth potential for domestic production and for pipeline imports from Myanmar, its two main supply sources.
- Malaysia began importing LNG in 2013. The country's LNG imports are projected to grow moderately, limited by competition from lower-priced coal and domestic natural gas prices.
Prospects for LNG demand growth in Singapore depend on the country becoming an LNG trading hub in the region. Singapore is increasing regasification capacity and launched the SGX LNG index in an effort to establish a regional Asian LNG hub.
- Pakistan began importing LNG in March 2015. Pakistan's LNG imports are projected to double in the next two years. Declining domestic production and rapidly growing natural gas demand in the power generation and industrial sectors, results in increases in LNG imports.
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Tyre market in Bangladesh is forecasted to grow at over 9% until 2020 on the back of growth in automobile sales, advancements in public infrastructure, and development-seeking government policies.
The government has emphasized on the road infrastructure of the country, which has been instrumental in driving vehicle sales in the country.
The tyre market reached Tk 4,750 crore last year, up from about Tk 4,000 crore in 2017, according to market insiders.
The commercial vehicle tyre segment dominates this industry with around 80% of the market share. At least 1.5 lakh pieces of tyres in the segment were sold in 2018.
In the commercial vehicle tyre segment, the MRF's market share is 30%. Apollo controls 5% of the segment, Birla 10%, CEAT 3%, and Hankook 1%. The rest 51% is controlled by non-branded Chinese tyres.
However, Bangladesh mostly lacks in tyre manufacturing setups, which leads to tyre imports from other countries as the only feasible option to meet the demand. The company largely imports tyre from China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan.
Automobile and tyre sales in Bangladesh are expected to grow with the rising in purchasing power of people as well as growing investments and joint ventures of foreign market players. The country might become the exporting destination for global tyre manufacturers.
Several global tyre giants have also expressed interest in making significant investments by setting up their manufacturing units in the country.
This reflects an opportunity for local companies to set up an indigenous manufacturing base in Bangladesh and also enables foreign players to set up their localized production facilities to capture a significant market.
It can be said that, the rise in automobile sales, improvement in public infrastructure, and growth in purchasing power to drive the tyre market over the next five years.
Headline crude prices for the week beginning 14 January 2019 – Brent: US$61/b; WTI: US$51/b
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